The leftist website Wired published an April 1 article claiming carbon dioxide taxes enjoy growing conservative support and bipartisan momentum. The article also asserts Republican politicians supporting carbon dioxide taxes are enjoying increasing support from voters. In reality, Wired is pushing a leftist fantasy. Very few conservatives or Republicans support carbon dioxide taxes. And those that do have gotten slaughtered in recent elections.

First, very few Republicans actually support a carbon dioxide tax. In 2018, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) introduced a House resolution opposing a carbon dioxide tax and documenting substantial economic harms that would result from such a tax. Only six Republicans opposed the resolution (and thus expressed openness to a carbon dioxide tax), while a greater number of Democrats (seven) supported the resolution. By the numbers, if there is any way that political sentiment regarding a carbon dioxide tax can be described as “bipartisan,” it is that bipartisan opposition exists to such a tax.

Second, those few Republicans who support carbon dioxide taxes or other forms of climate activism get slaughtered in elections. Before the 2018 midterm elections, 43 Republicans were part of the Congressional Climate Solutions Caucus (CSC), comprised of members of Congress advocating more government programs aimed at climate change. More than 90 percent of Republicans who were not members of the CSC kept their seats Republican. By contrast, less than half of Republican members of the CSC kept their seats. The 2018 Democratic “wave” election was more precisely a “wave” election against Republican climate activists.

Republicans who attempt to appease the Left with climate activism will never win over leftist voters who prioritize climate change. Instead, Republican climate activists merely betray and depress the turnout from their traditional conservative Republican base. Wired and other leftists are peddling fantasies and lies when they claim anything else.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is managing editor of Environment & Climate News and a research fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute. Burnett worked at the National Center for Policy Analysis for 18 years, most recently as a senior fellow in charge of NCPA’s environmental policy program. He has held various positions in professional and public policy organizations, including serving as a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Task Force in the Texas Comptroller’s e-Texas commission.


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